Over eighty countries represented as citizens mobilise to help in disaster situations

Volunteers from 85 countries collaborated online to assist humanitarian organisations in 2014 according to the Standby Task Force annual report (available as a PDF).

The Task Force is a network of over 1300 people who give up their time to help the UN and other agencies understand what is happening in disaster zones.

In 2014 Standby Task Force volunteers were mobilised online:

  • to help the World Food Programme get better data on the impact of drought in Pakistan
  • to help the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs improve its understanding of the impact of flooding in the Balkans
  • to support the charity NetHope in its work to combat Ebola in West Africa
  • to track the impact of Typhoon Hagupit on the Philippines at the request of the Digital Humanitarian Network

Volunteers typically monitor online media and social sources or undertake research using information hidden away on websites across the globe.

“This is not crowd-sourcing”

explains Standby Task Force vice president Per Aarvik

“Our volunteers undertake training and we practice our skills regularly. We have established workflows to assess the quality and veracity of data that we are monitoring. Having so many volunteers spread across the world means we can respond quickly and work around the clock”

“We have no paid staff and rely entirely on the work of unpaid people across the globe who want to use their skills to assist in humanitarian crises. We are always looking to recruit volunteers. Just visit www.standbytaskforce.com to find out more”

The Standby Task Force Annual Report 2014 (available as a PDF) was published on 3 March 2015

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